Sometimes it takes a good bit of time to lock down the identity of the sitter in a photograph. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of dozens of research friends and an equal number of archive websites. With that said, I was able to purchase, research and identify and post a positive identification of a recent eBay purchase! It’s not an easy endeavor, but it’s something that will be worthwhile at some point in the future.
What are we working with for an identification? The soldier has a definite first name of Russell and is cousins with a male named Forrest Martin of Watson, Illionois in 1919. Given the intro and body wording, he’s likely to be close to the recipient.
I started by researching the recipient, Forrest Martin, and found his 1900 census entry:
From here I decided to research his mother and father in search of a series of siblings to track down as aunts and uncles to Russell. An aunt or uncle would produce a cousin which should provide me with the proper identification for the 33rd Division soldier!
After over an hour of searching (tiring for sure) I was able to identify his mother’s sister as a Laura A. Humes. Laura had a son named Russell in 1897! When I clicked on his military burial record it all came together. Please keep in mind that this took hours of research!
Russell Humes, first cousin of Forrest Humes (recipient of the postcard), was in Company G of the 130th Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Division in WWI. He achieved the rank of Corporal and was wounded in action at some point during his service. His portrait photo was taken in 1919 long after his wounding. He passed away on 11-5-1957 at the age of 61.